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View Full Version : Nano topoff...I need an easy/temporary solution


ReefMeister2
07/16/2006, 02:08 PM
Hi,
I have a small 5 gallon Eclipse Reef that's about 3 years old
I need to hookup a quick and easy Topoff before I leave on vacation. Because of the recent heat-wave and a fan that I have to blow over my filters for cooling...I am losing at least a quart a day to evaporation.

I have various float valves, float switches, RO solenoids, etc that are applicable for my larger reef, but I need/want something quick and simple for my Nano. Something along the lines of a gravity-fed Kent dose container sort of setup. I don't really want to make an elaborate electrical system out of float swithes and such...I just want something simple and temporary. Unfortunately, I don't have enough clearance for a standard mechanical float valve, or it would be easy. Is there some other way of doing a gravity-fed topoff system for a Nano?

This is what I've got to work with:
(the tank is sitting in my garage temporarily)

overhead view with fan pointed on exposed filter and bio-wheel
http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/507/63874DSC05015a.jpg

32-watt retro-fit 50/50 bulb...modified to replace stock Eclipse light fixture
http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/507/63874DSC05020a.jpg

Acrylic "splash shield" that I custom made to cover entire opening; cut around the stock filtration unit
http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/507/63874DSC05024a.jpg

The lights just came on so not everything has opened up yet.
http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/507/63874DSC05039a.jpg

Thanks in advance for any advice/knowledge/experiences/etc. that you can offer me!
Kevin

H20ENG
07/16/2006, 03:52 PM
Hi RM (Kevin- nice to know your real name:) )
For quick and dirty, you can build a Nurce type topoff. Basically a large sealed vessel above the tank with a hose going into the tank at the topoff level. You cant use a flimsy 2 liter or anything, and it HAS to seal to hold the vacuum.

You only need room for the small hoses into the tank, no floats, etc.

It works on the same principle as a water cooler bottle- when the tank gets low enough to allow a little air into the bottle, a little water will leak out, raising the tank level, thus sealing the tube again.
I've even seen a guy hang a 5g water bottle upside down over his sump!

BTW, Nice nano!

Ti
07/16/2006, 05:18 PM
looks good!

ReefMeister2
07/16/2006, 06:15 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7753879#post7753879 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by H20ENG
Hi RM (Kevin- nice to know your real name:) )
For quick and dirty, you can build a Nurce type topoff. Basically a large sealed vessel above the tank with a hose going into the tank at the topoff level. You cant use a flimsy 2 liter or anything, and it HAS to seal to hold the vacuum.

You only need room for the small hoses into the tank, no floats, etc.

It works on the same principle as a water cooler bottle- when the tank gets low enough to allow a little air into the bottle, a little water will leak out, raising the tank level, thus sealing the tube again.
I've even seen a guy hang a 5g water bottle upside down over his sump!

BTW, Nice nano!

I'm busting up laughing as I write this from the irony of it all!
I did the EXACT thing that you are suggesting for my wife's two rabbits, just a couple a days ago (picture below) :D
I know it's totally ghetto, but it's only supposed to be temporary fix to keep the bunnies watered while we are gone. It just never dawned on me to do the same thing for my Nano tank :)

I have a question though...
the large upper bottle is slowly collapsing inward as the water is depleted/drank. Is there a flaw somewhere...is that normal...or do I need to get a thicker-walled bottle???

On a similar note for the Nano tank:
I suppose the feeder-hose "output" for the Nurse topoff had better be secure, lest an accidental flood and/or hypersalination occur if it slips. :eek2:

http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/539/63874DSC05041a.jpg

ReefMeister2
07/17/2006, 11:16 AM
Well, I tried the nurse topoff idea with regular 1/4" RO water line and a gallon bottle with John Guest bulkhead mounted on the bottom of the bottle. I can't quite get it to "burp" and do its thing when the water level drops. I tried all various hose lengths and bottle positions.

I then tried with a Kent dose container and larger 3/8" water line to see if a larger diameter feed hose would do the trick.... just ended up overflowing my tank (good thing I tried it with saltwater first)

any specifics on how to get this to work?
:confused:

Thanks,
Kevin

edit: would the fact that I'm using "saltwater" for the test affect the performance? I'm just now thinking: different specific gravities/different results?